tv Panel Discussion on Hydraulic Fracturing CSPAN April 6, 2014 2:40am-3:31am EDT
know, the metadata collection program. so it's a work in progress, and i think it's too early to judge him. i don't think things are worse off than they were when he became president, but i'm not sure they're as much better than he would have liked. >> just quickly, i think empire is by its nature p tragic. all empires always overreach and undermine themselves, ultimately. having said that, the american empire has been the most benign, the most principled, the most honorable empire if history -- in history. and we have screwed up to a fare three well lots of places and inflicted harm on all sorts of people. but relative to all the other empires in history, we've been pretty good. it goes with the territory that if you project power, you're going to break things. and if you do it secretly or
accelerately or with -- overtly or with indirect warfare, you're going to break things. and people don't like to be occupy toed by you. and they, you know, imagine if we had afghan troops walking down our streets. we, you know, we'd resist. and so it kind of goes with the territory. in eisenhower's a case, they did a lot of -- they broke a lot of rules. the cia, people always think of the cia plot now long after the cia stopped doing those plots, everybody just assumes it was the cia. so that was a long-term harm x. some of those plots were stupid and wrong. on the other hand, the western alliance and europe, the seventh fleet in the pacific have kept a kind of international order to that has kept us from world war -- not little wars, but kept us from world war -- created a fairly free global trade zone and permitted the advance of democracy not everywhere by any
means, but in many parts of the world. that is a great legacy. >> we have three minutes. >> i will take less than that for my question. >> good. >> can could you both place put this in the context of the times of what was going on when eisenhower was president following world war ii, it was basically the collapse of the major colonial empires who had conquered and divided the world. particularly, i guess, particularly the french and the british. and much of the world was sort of there for the taking. and at the same time, you had people in these different countries, many of which you've mentioned, who were trying to take advantage of the situation and to basically to gain their own independence. so how does that situation there compare to 60 years later what we're dealing with? >> your turn. [laughter] >> i'm not -- can you -- i'm sorry, i know you only -- can you just restate the question?
because i wasn't quite sure i -- >> in eisenhower's case, you're following a major world war -- >> yeah. >> -- where the major powers are crumbling. and their empires are totally falling apart. >> right. >> they cannot control them anymore. and during that same time you've got people in those different countries when are demanding their own independence and fighting for it. how does that situation compare to the time of barack obama 60 years later where the world has changed greatly? >> yeah. well, it's, you know, i think obama, obviously, inherited a very different world. it's interesting to pose that question now when we're talking about the revival of the russian empire. [laughter] and so he, obviously, has not
been, he inherited a world that was more complicated in some ways but less, less dangerous in the sense that we weren't dealing with, obviously, the, you know, this epic struggle between the united states and the soviet union. and, you know, i think obama has, when he first became president, he saw an opportunity to do different things on the world stage, to try to deal with nuclear proliferation, to try to deal with climate change as an issue, and he had all sorts of grand ambitions to be that kind of player on the world stage and saw that as how america could continue to lead in the world while at the same time retrenching.
and they, of course, thought that they would be able to bring the troops back from the middle east and not be distracted by kinds of wars that have a colonial legacy. and that turned out not to be the case. they were going to make this pivot to asia, they haven't been able to do that. so it's been complicated. >> complicated, indeed. i appreciated the two portraits. identify got to say -- i've got to say, we didn't get the chance to take advantage of some great reporting by dan about how the debates went between people like jeh johnson and harold coe, chief lawyer for state and now the man who runs homeland security. trying to figure out practically working with a set of playing cards where the generals would ask can we kill this one? can we kill this one? >> they call them baseball cards. >> baseball cards, amazing. there's some great debates in
there to help you figure out the ethics and the sense of national purpose and what you're doing for and against your country when you're carrying out this kind of an execution system. but then also there's some great material if your book about eisenhower. tell us just for a we could this guy who played hands -- more a second this guy who played hands of poker so well, how did he get on with his fellow officers? i had the sense -- >> he had to quit playing poker because he was taking all their money. [laughter] >> i think we're done. >> we've got to go. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. we are here, my name is elizabeth geltman, i am a professor at the cooney school
of public health where i teach environmental and occupational health sciences. i am here to moderate the panel on fracking with my two authors, seamus mcgraw and tom wilber. we're going to start the afternoon with my giving a brief overview of fracking and defining terms, then each author is going to give their discussion of it, and we're going to, hopefully, open it up for questions. when we have questions, we're going to ask that everybody come up to the microphone here in the center. so if you think you have a question, you probably want to go and get set up before the question and answer period so that we can do it quickly. first slide? okay. these are the books. met me go to the -- let me go to the second slide, i'm sorry. i want to start off by defining what is meant by fracking. the term is short for hydraulic fracturing which is a technical term used by the oil and gas industry for shale gas extraction. it's also, fracking can be spelled with a c, it's also the
term is high volume hydraulic fracturing or hvhf which is really what we're going to be talking to this afternoon. next slide, please. so the thing that's important when we're talking about fracking is that there's often a very important disconnect between what industry is saying and what is expected and understood in the popular press and the public. of so when industry says there aren't any accidents attributed to fracking, they're talking about a very small portion of the shale gas extraction process. when the public and most journalists talk about fracking, they're talking about the entire shale gas extraction process. so there's, it's important to understand this distinction. sometimes people are saying things that are technically true but are misleading in the context because of the disconnect between the language. next slide. so this is what the shale gas extraction process looks like. and this is from a u.s. epa study that is studying the impacts on water.
shale gas has and the impact here has a multitude of processes. basically, what they do is today start off by having a very large mouth of water that is going to be used in order to pump water into the ground through a hole that is drilled in the ground in order to try to open up gas that is caught this shale rock. in shale rock. now, it's mostly water that goes into this, but there is a portion of it -- industry says it's about .5% -- which is composed of sand and other types of chemicals. those chemicals have a multitude of purposes. the main purpose is to have what's calls a slickant and an emulsion, and it allows the water to be pumped in and to have sand be more or lessfied inside it so that when the water goes through, it can take advantage of what's currently in the earth and the sand will hold
it open so that when they pull the water out of the ground, the methane gas will float back out of the hole. so what happens here is you've got a number of issues. first of all, a lot of water is being used -- usually between a million and fife million gallons -- it's in many places so there is a problem of allocation of water and how much water is being used and having dropped the aquifer. the second issue is that you're mixing chemicals in the ground. the chemicals go into the ground can, some of them stay there and some of them come back up. the upward portion is called flowback water. when the water comes back up in addition to having the chemicals that were mixed this there, there's also things that were in the ground that combine with it. some of that is radioactive material which is called naturally occurring radioactive material and other types of faults and brine. so the water that comes up is actually more concentrated and has a higher concentration of total dissolved solvents than
what went into the ground. and then finally, they have to figure out what to do with this flowback be or produced water. the water is usually stored on the premises, sometimes in retention ponds, more recently in different types of tankers. industry is trying to reduce the amount of fresh water that's being used, and so now they are recycling it. recycling it is good because we use less water, but it creates more concentrated brine and produced waters which are sitting on various types of properties and are subject to different types of spills for accidents and weather events and the like. and the last portion is disposal. we have to figure out what to do with all of this produced water that has chemicals and has naturally occurring radioactive materials in it. okay? so is that's sort of the process. and the difference is that when the industry is talking about fracking, tear talking about the portion where they're shooting water in the ground and trying to break up the rock when the public and most journalists are talking about fracking, they're talking about the entire shale
gas extraction process which is the technical name. next slide, please in okay. so this is to show you how much shale gas reserves there are around the country and in the world. and if you look at the slide on the left, it shows the united states. the areas in pink are all areas that have been identified as shale gas reserves. the area on the right is the mar sal plus shale. not only is it quite large, it's also quite close to where a predominance of gas be users are which make it enormously potentially economically advantageous. the slide on the right shows where basins are worldwide. most of the shale gas is being produced right now in the united states. it is spreading worldwide, and so the question of water issues and the question of environmental and ecological issues are something that are going on to be an international problem or becoming more so in terms of demonstrations as we move on. next slide please?
so this is showing the drilling activity x. what you'll notice here, the slide on the left is showing drilling activity at the various shales throughout the united states. the yellow line is showing the mar salless shale. and what you'll see there is in 2006 there is almost no wells, and currently we have the highest producing number of wells if the marcellus shale above everyone else. the movement from impercenting and exporting -- importing of natural gas. it came primarily from canada. currently, we import almost no gas from canada. we are in the process of moving from a importer to an exporter, and the projections from the u.s. eia show we're going to be a major with exporter if we continue on this trend. next slide. so the question comes down to regulation and where we are, and is it a wild west situation. the united states has very, very
little federal regulation in terms of shale gas. a lot of the statutes have been exempted either because of the energy policy act of 2005 which exempted the clean water act and the safe drinking water act, the oil and gas industry was exempted from the clean water act and safe drinking water act willinglations. his forically, there was a lot of exemptions before, so we don't have a lot of federal oversight going on. most of the activity is happening at the state level, and the state's -- so in my neck of the woods the differences in new york state where we have a more to moratorium right now and in pennsylvania where we have a lot of drilling going on and it's increasing exponentially. next slide. okay, so last slide is what going -- i don't think you can see that very well, i apologize. so it's going to name various health and environmental concerns, and they come in a lot
of areas. water, obviously, is an exceedingly important question and the extent to which these are shale gas extraction has the ability to contaminate both groundwater surfaces and groundwater aquifers as well as fresh water sources. the extraction process has issues. when there's spill, it is not -- it's quite possible and it happened quite often that there have been incidences of fresh water contamination. because we have a groundwater contamination that's drilling through -- we have issues of groundwater. so with that, there's other issues with air and soil and others as well, but i'm going the turn it over to tom wilber who is a journalist and wrote this, "under the surface," and he's going to take it from now. next slide. >> thank you, liz. and thanks for that great overview. of the technical aspects. i'm going to give you a brief overview of my perspective as a reporter. i work for the press and sun
bulletin, that's a gannette newspaper in binghamton, new york. i've worked there for several decades covering health and environmental stories as well as sometimes overlapping into agricultural issues. the greater bing mton area, broom county, is largely a rural flair upstate new york -- area in upstate new york. and natural gas development for a long, long time in new york state was not much of a story at all. there has been some conventional development in western parts of the state, but it's a very small part of the economy. and people wouldn't get too excited about it. our newspaper readers at least, unless there was infrastructure, a pipeline occasionally going through. and in 2008 i got some information from some of my sources on the farm bureau that something different was happening.
and by editor was on me to start covering this natural gas story. and we had pretty much thought that it was similar to the small and natural gas stories we'd covered in the past until we got some information from some farmers who had banded together to form a coalition to leverage bargaining powers with the gas company. and a group of farmers, about 300 farmers, leased 50,000 acres in delaware county to xto energy for $110 million. and xto energy was later bought by exxonmobil. and delaware county, where this happened, was just on the west side of the or cats skills -- cat skills just outside of the new york city drinking water reservoirs. so this, all of a sudden, became not just another story, but our
central story that dominated the local news in the greater binghamton area and a large part of upstate new york after 2008. so we woke up to the fact that this was, not just another story. and at the same time, i think communities throughout the rest of the country are waking up to this same fact and communities throughout the world. i've been in touch with reporters from northern ireland, from england, from australia who have reached out to me to compare notes to find out what this story is about and how it affects their viewers and their readers. huh does it affect me -- how does it affect me? well, we all love cheap, abundant energy. we don't like higher prices and expensive energy. we may not like cheap, abundant
energy so much when we get a really good look at where it comes from, if it's the fossil fuel industry. and we like it even less if it spoils our water or depreciates our land. but our expectations about this energy and where we're going from here has a lot to do with our political beliefs and our faith in industry. and i'm not going to go too far with that, but let's just say that the book explores some of that. and that's just for limits of time. i'd really like to leave as much question and answer time as possible. so my view, i don't really have, after studying this intensely for, since at least 2008, i don't have a real view whether the risks of shale gas development outweigh the benefits, because there are a lot of benefits globally, and there are a lot of risks. but i feel very passionate about
this, and that is pro-transparency. as a journalist, i feel that there's a need for transparency in these things that affect so much of the global population, let alone the national or local populations. and due to the various exemptions from the federal regulations that liz had mentioned, we really don't have a baseline to gauge the risks. we really don't know, there's no no -- industries are not mandated to disclose all the chemicals they use, for example. we don't have a good tracking system to figure out where the waste goes when it comes out of the ground. and this is not treated as hazardous waste even though some of the substances going in are hazardous sub standses. the waste coming out, because of the federal exemptions, is treated or disposed of under conventional means.
so briefly i'll just talk about three different aspects of this, the mechanical aspect -- liz already did a good overview on that -- and a little bit about policy, and then i want to talk a little bit about the personal aspects. now, my book really weaves all this together, because it is a densely technical story. but it it is also a deeply persl story for a lot of people. so understanding the mechanics are important. as liz said, fracking does not equal drilling, okay? a lot of people think of this fracking is new, ask all of a sudden we have it. fracking's been around for a long time, and drilling's been around for a long time. what's new is the way we're drilling and the source rock that we're drilling from. this shale, these big shale mantles extend extensively under entire states unlike traditional shale or traditional natural gas
wells that are geographically limited. so that is a game changer in itself in the scale of drilling. and fracking enables us to extract gas from these shale plays which are so extensive. drilling, there are many documented problems associated with drilling that have been around for a long time. methane migration is one. that's when gas gets from one area into the next. it can cause explosions, it can cause methane in the water. so don't be confused when you hear about the dangers of fracking. some of these are really the dangers of drilling. but fracking does enable shale gas development on an unpress kented -- precedented scale. policy. very little national policy. states control the policy.
and i think as a journalist one thing i've been very interested in is how communities might affect the policy. and this is a very interesting story because it has started in the town hall on many levels, and i'll just tell you briefly about state where we don't have hydraulic fracturing. and now even though the marcellus shale exfunds under new york state. -- extends under new york state. and the reason we don't have it right now isn't because of the anti-fracking movement, although that has contributed to things. the reason we don't have it in new york state is because in 2008 when the farmers got together and they landed this big deal with xto to, town boards -- and this was before fracking was a bad word. it was before josh fox came out with his movie and before there was a lot of awareness of it. and the local officials at town boards, these were planners, and they were roads people and emergency responders. they weren't necessarily activists. they got together and said,
well, let's wait a minute here. this is different. how is it different and how will it affect us? and all the communities around deposit, new york, where the lease was started saying we'll probably be next. the land men are here, how is this going the affect us? they packed town boards. the town reps got in touch with the state legislators. long story short, this became a big story in the legislature and then governor paterson said, well, we better hold off on this and do a more thorough review, environmental review before we know what's going on. five years later the anti-fracking movement has gaped national -- gained national prominence. they have raised a lot of questions about public health, and that has prolocked in the issue -- prolonged this issue. so this really started as a grassroots movement, and it didn't necessarily start with activists, although activists played an important role. and again, that story is told more thoroughly under the surface.
and then i want to introduce the idea of home rule, okay this now states have jurisdiction over shale gas be, but communities are now challenging that, and several communities in upstate have said, wait a minute, the state can't just come into my community and site a shale gas well if they think, if our people here, our local people feel that violates zoning or causes various conflicts with our land use plan. so they challenged the state and the industry on that. it's worked its way up to the courts, and the courts in new york state have ruled that communities do, in fact, have home rule. they can stop drilling within a local area if they feel that it doesn't comply with the land use. and this is very important because as the industry points out, they -- with shale gas, they like to develop in big, large areas. they need predictability and uniformity.
and if communities stop opting out here and there, it makes it more difficult for them to develop. so it's a very important battle that's going on in new york state, and pennsylvania also has had counties or local municipalities successfully challenge the industry. so while we don't have national policy on this or limited national policy, there's developing policy on a community level. that's very important. now, the story in new york started with this awareness with the big deal with the ifs sit farmers -- got sit farmers, the $110 million deal. and all this chain of events that went with that ended up with the moratorium in new york state. meanwhile, pennsylvania has gone full ahead with it, and sitting right on the border you've really had a case study of two different states and the ramifications in these two different states with the development.
personally, and that's where all this comes home, right? i mean, we can talk all these technical things and policy things all along, but how does it affect people? and if you could switch to slide 13, please? i think you might have to skip over one or two. there we go, right there. thank you. when i was working at the paper in 2008 ask 2009 and this story was unfolding, a lot of the expectations were very high in pennsylvania. and a place in pennsylvania in particular, seamus and i were both reporting on this at the same time, and his book came out a little bit before mine. but there's an overlapping community aspect, and he tells the story through the first person and through a very personal account. mine's her of a journalistic account, but they involve some of the same characters. and it was so interesting when i read his book to see what i had reported on through his eyes and
vice versa. but anyways, the idea of accidental activist, victoria schweitzer, the carters, nor ma finish norma is a plumber's widow. she lives in a seven-acre homestead in a trailer with several generations of kids. and the story became very big there when her water well exploded on new year's day, 2009. and this triggered events where people in pennsylvania were saying, well, maybe this isn't what we thought it was. they had high expectations even though they had leased their land cheap, unlike their counterparts in new york, and one thing led to the other, and the story unfolds. these folks got together. victoria, who was a retired schoolteacher building her dream home with her husband jimmy in the rural community, called them accidental activists. they didn't want to get involved, but it was their battle against cabot and trying
to hold the industry accountable. and then could i have the next slide? here are are some other folks on the other side of the fence, industry proponents. this is dewey decker who was the coalition leader in deposit who landed the $110 million. dewey decker is a town supervisor, and e has, makes very compelling points for why communities and our country need to go ahead with it. and one of the points he makes is if we're all global citizens, we have no problem when they develop fossil fuel and mineral resources overseas and bring it here, but just think about, you know, the third world countries or countries that aren't free and people don't have land rights. we still consume that energy. you know, and i'll wrap it up with this. in new york and elsewhere, this is an intensely political
debate. and there is a line of rhetoric that says we need to take the politics out of it, and it has to be fact based. well, there is some truth to that. facts are good, facts are important, and we can't see all the facts. as i said in the beginning, we need the better understanding of the fundamentals before we can assess the risks. but it's also a value-based decision. and politics are part of it, whether we like it or not toment of and really, that's not such a bad thing. that's the way things work in this country. a political discussion. and sometimes it's divisive, sometimes it's not easy. so i say bring on the politics. i'm glad to see the interest, i'm glad to see everybody involved in getting themselves educated about this. thank you very much. [applause] >> seamus mcgraw is next, he is the author of "the end of country," but tells his story from a more personal standpoint. he was, had his mother had the opportunity to do leasing in
pennsylvania, and and i'll let him take over and explain his rationale and what he did. >> we ultimately, i'm going to cut to the chase. we ultimately made the decision to lease our property. and we can discuss that when we get to the question and answer face. phase. i love speaking with tom. i want to really thank everybody for inviting me here tonight -- today. usually when i do these talks, and i've probably done about 65 of them, i begin by saying something that's too clever by half. i turn around and say the usda that everybody in this room -- recommends that everybody in this room gets 18 milligrams of iron every day, and i'm willing to bet that half of you haven't gotten your 18 milligrams. and then i say, but you know what? i live almost entirely on
caffeine and nicotine, so i'm not going to throw stones. and then you know what i do? usually, i throw stones. i'll reach under the table, i'm not going to do it now because c-span doesn't want me moving around too much, i'll grab an 18-pound bag of coal and throw it into the middle of the floor. you know why i throw 18 pounds of coal in the middle of the floor? it's because that's how much you're going to burn today. you and you and you and you and me, we're all going to burn 18 pounds of coal today. in order to get that 18 pounds of coal, they have to remove 16 times that much that much earth. 16 times. from a hilltop in west virginia or someplace in wyoming. a grave-sized hole for every man, woman and child in america
every single day. and for what? to get the single dirtiest, deadliest, destructive form of energy there is. it killed my great grandfather in 1901, it was linked to the deaths of 30,000 people last year. worldwide. now, if we were having this discussion just a couple of years ago, that 18 pounds of coal would have been 19.64 pounds. we've reduced or had reduced the amount of coal we consume on daily basis. and in doing so, we've reduced our carbon output in this country by an amount equal to the total carbon output of a
country like, say, great britain where the industrial revolution began. how have we done it? we've done it in a couple of ways. the first is that we have gotten considerably better, not nearly good enough, but considerably better at energy efficiency. the second is that back in 2007 we deployed the most effective means possible of reducing carbon consumption. we ran the economy off the cliff. you want to turn around and reduce your carbon consumption? shrink your economy. but you know what? we've been growing it 2%, 3% a year. we're doing better. and yet our consumption is still down.
the largest reason and uncomfortably, according to the eia and the iea, has been the growth of natural gas. i wring that up -- i bring that up not as any kind of an endorsement of what's going on. there are profound risks, as detailed in my book and certainly as detailed in tom's, profound and serious risks associated with this. there are the risks of methane contamination. there are the risks of surface spills, there are the risks that we can, perhaps, block the growth of renewables. there is the risk that we will punt all of this down the road. there are profound economic
risks, there are profound environmental risks. and anyone who tells you that this can be and will be developed without those risks is, quite frankly, either misinformed or intentionally misinforming you. but anyone who tells you that with proper regulation and oversight some good could not come out of this, is doing precisely the same thing. when i do these talks, i'll often ask the audience -- and liz did great job of explaining it. i'll often ask the audience to describe fracking to me.
and somebody who's well versed in the subject will sooner or later explain to me that what you do is you drill down a mile, you drill out a mile, you blast a heavy concentration of water, sand and chemicals into the rock to fracture the rock and release the gas. and i'll say, you know what? that's 99.9% right. what you're actually doing is exploiting existing fractures in the rock. if the rock isn't already fractured, then this isn't economic. and i argue that what's happening a mile and a half below the surface at my farm is to a very great extent a mirror image of what's happening on the
often tell with an alarming degree of accuracy where they stand on five, six, seven or eight hot button issues in culture? gun control, crime control. abortion. what does that tell you? i could not agree with tom more. i welcome the political debate over this. because to me this issue is a microcosm of many of the issues that we face. but if we are going to have this debate and when we have this debate, it has to be artifacts.
it has to be on the facts and not on the emotions that we bring to it. i was introduced as a journalist. i don't know if i am anymore. i don't know what that means anymore, to be honest. but what i am is a storyteller, and the stories that i'm telling our stories that i hope and i want to show that there is a way to confront these very real issues without standing on opposite sides of those ever widening cultural fractures on the surface. i'm going to wrap up so we can open it up for questions because you don't want to hear me lecture. but i will just a that there is
a warrener use very often when i'm speaking. i believe the caucus taking and that we have limited time to deal with the larger issues at hand. and the world at this place in it. and there is a line that i use all the time and it is simply this. if the melting ice caps and rising oceans don't get us, we will all die in the visser of each other's oxygen. and i think that we get that message clear. >> excellent. i will turn it over to questions. take me to slide 18, because i have one public service that i always do whenever i have these kinds of talks. and this is looking at the national natural gas usage and what you'll notice is that 60% comes from residences. one of the things i love about both of these books, and they are fabulous books, they are
page turner, which in the environmental area i don't see very often. but the important thing to understand is that these are complex and nuanced issues. when people say that they are anti-tracking code cracking, you need to understand your individual impacts on those debates. every time you turn on or natural gas stove and you go and use the natural gas heater, you are encouraging the use of hydraulic fracturing in our economy. so it's something important to understand as individual responsibility, and a lot of folks do not. so let me turn it over now with back to questions. please go over to the microphone. yes, thank you. you have a second. >> my question is what a lot of this be solved if the tracking industry was forced to follow the clean air act? i mean, the clean water act?
how much is the problem? my feeling is if it's safe, you have to do it because we are all using energy. but i always assumed that there was more safety than what you're explaining here. but if they are not following the clean water act, there is pretty much -- there's no transparency. and it seems like we have to trust in this tree -- why should i trust someone? that is my question. >> i can give a brief answer. it would become more expensive of the industry to develop this and less feasible and possibly tip the scales. because we all know that there are competing energy industries out there, including renewables. what gets subsidies, what does not get subsidies. when you have exemptions from regulations, it works essentially like a subsidy. you're given a pass. so if you have exemptions or
getting rid of your waste, under conventional forms with the clean water act, it makes it easier and cheaper to operate. so will probably change and have a discouraging effect on developing at. but it also might make other forms of energy more competitive as well. >> i would like to add something to what tom says. this is ultimately, all of these questions, they are questions of the bottom line. regulation carries so far, but only so far. if you want to turn around and get these guys to be more transparent. if you want to get them to be more responsive. if you want to get them to be more careful, the way that you have to do that is through a
system of incentives and disincentives. but if you turn around and you develop an approach to this that is textbased, then you turn around and make it part of their bottom line and you are much more likely to achieve what it is you're trying to achieve. you know, these guys -- it is in their budget. and so it's very important. we have a tendency when we talk about the natural gas industry or the oil industry to kind of reduced them to cartoons. they are either mustache twirling villains or we are america's natural gas company and this is what we do today, cowboys running on the american frontier could but that's what they are. they are a machine that is designed to produce profit.
and the sooner that we get our heads around on, and the sooner we learn to use that machine, the more effective that we are going to be able to get to where you want to get. >> it brings me to my question. you say it's a political problem and that people can have some say in it. but the biggest problem is the energy companies have huge amounts of money from lobbyists that are on the other side and the normal people like us who would like to try to make a difference and have say, they are facing these gigantic hiring firms hired by the energy companies and it doesn't name like the playing field is level. >> let me start. and then you can take me apart on us. i have a rather unusual viewpoint on. and i do think that money is a
tremendously corrosive and corrupting influence and i don't think there is any question about it on a political system. but i do think that the corrosive mess and corruption tends to be limited to two weeks before any given election. that is the only time in my mind that money actually count or if you have organizations like 350.org, which is done a tremendous job, i think that they counted out big money a lot more than people give them credit for and i think that that money is definitely left effective and i think the obstacle is overstated and i think what we need to do is turn around and let people know. instead of repeating the narrative over and over again that we are but as the big money, i think that we need to change the narrative and make it
very clear. and i don't agree with everything that it stands for, but when he see you see that they have been able to achieve this in a short. lack of time, it gives you an idea that we have overstated things. >> maybe the fact that we have socialized all of our kids to be on bottled water and all of these companies have will make it easier for the practice documents was to take over the united states because we are all buying water and they say it isn't even a human right anymore. so maybe that's part of this whole problem. i was trained as a geologist. i would like maryland to talk about this. but these boundaries and aquifers are not follow state
lines. whether you want to sell your rights come your neighbors don't, you're living off the same water and we have to care about other states in what is going on there as well as your neighbors. >> that is a profound problem in general in terms of water safety. but you're exactly correct area a drinking water source for 9 million people. and a lot of that is how this became politically understood by folks. when new york city recognized that the watershed was in danger because of lacking and they became very proactive in trying to protect the catskills, which protect drinking water for syracuse in new york city and not so much for the downstream neighbors. so that is the argument of why having a federal foreign regulation becomes important. the whole question debated hotly. a lot of states talk about states rights and a lot of the
state policies are sometimes more advanced and more protective than other states. so it has been problematic in our environmental policy because the geological cycle is combined as well as error. >> don't lose sight of the fact that the susquehanna river has been poisonous for a long time. it used to be just up running off my farm. >> most of the dead zones are attributed to upstate new york and pennsylvania. >> upstate new york. i agree with that. [laughter] >> we have one question and we have one minute. >> my question is just a basic one of what is a drill site and what does it look